From Tar Valon Library
Author: Atarah al'Norahn
Over the course of time, the name of the city has been changed several times. After the Breaking of the World, the city was known by the name of Aren Mador, the capital of the nation of Essenia. After the Trolloc Wars, the name Fel Moreina came into being. Finally, after the War of the Hundred Years, the city came to be known as Far Madding, the capitol of Maredo. After the fall of Maredo, when Far Madding became the city-state that it is today, this name was not changed. At some time in the past, it was known as Aren Deshar, at which time it was the enclave of the Incaster People (ToM, Ch. 51).
The city of Far Madding lies on an island, and the only ways in are through one of three gates: The Caemlyn Gate, the Illian Gate, and the Tear Gate. The Caemlyn Gate leads to the Ajalon Bridge, and the village of Glancor. The Illian Gate leads to the Ikane Bridge, and the village of Daigan. The Tear Gate leads to the Goim Bridge and the village of South Bridge. There is also a Gold Road, a major thoroughfare of commerce, that runs from Illian to Far Madding.
The Amhara Market
The Amhara Market is a huge square that looks nothing like a market, as it has no market stalls, or displays of merchandise. Around the square, as with the other two markets, tall, stone houses of bankers and slate-roofed stone inns where foreign merchants stay, and blocky, windowless stone warehouses where their goods are stored are jumbled in among stone stables and stone walled wagonyards. There is a round marble pedestal in the center of the square that holds a statue of Savion Amhara, two spans tall and dressed in fur-trimmed robes of marble, with elaborate marble chains of office around her neck. In her right hand is firmly gripped the hilt of a marble sword, its point resting between her slippered feet, with her left hand raised, aiming a warning finger toward the Tear gate.
There are several different buildings in Far Madding that we learn about throughout the books. Information on them follows.
- The Counsel's Head --The Counsel's Head is in Inn that overlooks the Nethvin Market. It's innkeeper is Mistress Keene. This inn has better rooms than the Crown of Maredo.
- The Crown of Maredo --The Crown of Maredo is a modest inn, with two dozen rooms and three floors (including the Common Room). The cooking here is said to be very good. The innkeeper is Mistress Nalhera.
- The Golden Wheel --The Golden Wheel is a large inn that is located just off the Avharin Market. The innkeeper is Mistress Gallger.
- The Heart of the Plain --An inn in Far Madding.
- The Three Ladies of Maredo --An inn in Far Madding.
- The Hall of the Counsels --See The Hall of the Counsels
Far Madding is ruled by the Counsels, which is made up solely of thirteen women. They wear their hair on top of their heads, and flowing, blue silk robes that are richly embroidered in gold over their dresses. Each woman wears a large pendant in the shape of a gold rimmed red enamel oval that is suspended from a necklace of heavy golden links. There is also the same shape at the front of the narrow, golden diadems that each of them wear. Some information about various Counsels follows.
- Aleis Barsalla is the First Counsel, a 'first among equals.' She is tall and stately, with black hair that has heavy wings of white, and an unlined face. Her dark eyes are filled with compassion and wisdom, and her presence radiates command. The red ovals on her pendant and diadem are made of rubies, and her diadem is covered with sapphires and moonstones. She wears a geavy golden signet ring on her right forefinger. The women of the Barsalla family have been involved in trade and politics since Far Madding was known as Fel Moreina.
- Cumere Powys - She is pretty.
- Cyprien - She has protruding teeth.
- Narvais Maslin - She is slim and gray haired.
- Sybaine - Her hair is as gray as Cadsuane's.
The Hall of the Counsels
The Hall of the Counsels is a great palace in the Counsels' Plaza. It is all white, except for a blue dome. Massive, fluted columns surround the upper two levels below the dome. It is the center of government in Far Madding, and lies at the center of the city.
In the city of Far Madding, the women are seen as more important, and expect men to obey them. The only men of any real means are those who are either kept by women as lovers, or the widowers of wealthy women, as men are barred from trade and banking. At inns, there are special 'Women's Rooms,' which are separate parlors that are more luxurious than the common rooms for men.
The people of Far Madding are more often than not tall with dark hair and eyes. The women wear their hair long and piled on their heads in a variety of different styles-long rolls the length of their heads, a series of small balls, or large buns, which are often decorated with gold or silver ornaments. They generally wear dresses with high collars and waists, and floral embroidery. The men also wear their hair longer, to the waist, and held back with clips of silver or gold. The men tend to wear dull colors, with brighter embroidery at the chest and shoulders.
In the city of Far Madding, the civic order is strictly maintained.
Private arms are not allowed within the city. When entering at one of the gates, foreigners must register at the gate-forts, and must either 1) agree to store their weapons there, or 2) have them 'peace-bound' by intricately wrapped wires that are sealed with wax and leaden discs. Fines and floggings may be applied if the wires and seals are found to be broken, and a foreigner carrying a sword always attracts the attention of the guards. Foreigners are considered to be troublemakers and hotheads. Even the City Guards themselves go armed only at the gates, and must leave their weapons behind when they go off duty.
The guards wear armor of large, square scales, and helmets with barred faceplates. Officers are marked by yellow plumes on their helmets.
Within the city of Far Madding lies a ter'angreal called the Guardian. It consists of three cloudy disks that are each a span wide. Each of these disks has a clear, narrow wedge of crystal, and gradations around its circumference. The Guardian can detect channeling, from both women and men. It creates three zones around the city. The innermost zone ends at each of the bridges, and cuts women off from the True Source. The second zone is larger, ending about a mile around the city, that cuts men off from the True Source. The third and largest zone can detect both men and women channeling outside of the first two zones. When the Guardian detects the use of the One Power, the three crystal wedges point towards the source, showing the location of the channeler through triangulation. The crystal wedges turn red when saidar is detected, and black when saidin is detected.
- The symbol of Far Madding is a golden hand
- Raolin Darksbane was born in Aren Mador
- Yurian Stonebow was born in Fel Moreina
- A Waygate was grown near Aren Mador